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How do employers overcome negativity in the workplace?

CultureNovember 29, 2016

How do employers overcome negativity in the workplace? (Last Updated On: March 7, 2019)

Nothing affects your business’s productivity and culture more than negative employees. How often are you witnessing one of your employees let out a huge sigh and mutter to themselves “I am so over this”? Employee negativity can surface in many ways such as complaining, demeaning individual or colleagues’ work, failure to perform tasks, belittling comments or laziness. If any of these symptoms surface in your workplace, they cannot be allowed to go unchecked.

Negativity is extremely contagious, especially within a small business where employees work in close proximity to each other. Negativity can start with one staff member who may just be experiencing a bad day, and soon all employees are sucked into a big, black vortex that takes all their energy and motivation. As an employer it is up to you to address, control and remove negativity if it occurs in your workplace but how do you even begin to do this?

Work with your employee to diagnose and problem solve.

You cannot begin to amend the problem if you are unsure of why your staff are unhappy. There are many reasons employees may be feeling low including lack of communication, short timeframes, lack of career direction, increased workloads or even more extreme causes such as bullying or harassment.

Your first step towards trying to fix workplace negativity is to diagnose the underlying problem, and then work together on possible solutions. This includes speaking to the unhappy employee one on one to allow them the opportunity to vent their frustrations.

The worst thing for negativity is if your employees feel that they cannot come to you to express their concerns. Simply taking the time to speak to your employee will actually solve 98% of workplace negativity, yet a lot of employers neglect to do this simply because they ‘are too busy’.

You and your employee should then work together for a solution. An employee will generally feel negative if they feel they have no avenue to voice their discontent so by allowing them to propose a possible solution, you are letting them know that you value their input. Ensure that you continue to monitor and check in on the employee moving forwards, and readdress if you do not see a solution.

Encourage a positive workplace culture.

How do you nip workplace negativity in the bud before it has a chance to bloom into a full-fledged problem? You can do this by creating a positive workplace for all staff. This does not have to be extreme, but instead can be done in small ways such as a positive daily quote that is shared with all employees every morning, or written up on a wall where everyone can see.

Encourage your team members to socialise during their breaks, or occasionally take your team out for lunch (budget permitting). This is a great way to boost comradeship and your employees will feel more at home within the workplace.

Hold building exercises or business strategy days. This allows employees the opportunity to voice their ideas for company progress and growth, but also ensure they are kept in the loop of any changes which may occur.

There are occasions when workplace negativity does not stem from one employee, but is the result of company decisions and issues that are out of their control. This can include downsizing, under staffing, budget reductions or company take over. This is where open communication with your employees is of utmost importance, to ensure they are aware of any and all changes that may affect them.

As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist Employsure can assist you with managing your employee relation or work health and safety obligations. Call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak to a specialist.

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